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Invictus Fixes the Giants, Part 2: Making Space

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In the second part of his four part series, Invictus XI looks at how much cap space the New York Giants have, and how they can add to that by letting go of some ineffective veterans.

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, the concept of addition by subtraction seems about right for some teams. Many teams have veterans that are overpaid, aging and ineffectual, or both. The Giants are no stranger to this either. Even then, I hate this part of my series. There are always some familiar and beloved figures that get headed to the chopping block.

There are also a lot of tough decisions to make but the Giants will need the money for the upcoming part. Before we get to the cutting, let's take a look at the current cap space that the Giants have right now:

2016 Cap Space

$4,371,470

2017 Cap Space (based on cap of $166,000,000)

$27,744,686

2017 Cap Space (adjusted for carry-over)

$30,744,686


Where did I get that number? Well, assuming a cap of $166,000,000 (which several reputable sources such as "spotrac" and "OverTheCap" estimate), the Giants would have almost $28,000,000 before carrying over this year's cap. I made the math easy and added on about $3,000,000 from this year, approximating about $1.5 million being used up this year for other transactions. That leaves us with almost $31,000,000 to start off with. Pretty impressive given the spending spree the team went on last year, eh?

Now with that out of the way, let's look at some veterans.

Victor Cruz

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$9,400,000

$7,500,000


You knew that we had to start off with Victor Cruz. The former superstar wide receiver simply isn't himself. He's made a few incredibly clutch catches this season, but certainly not enough to justify being the fifth highest paid player on the Giants. At the age of 30, his knee and calf injuries seem to have sapped him of the explosion that made him such a monstrous player back in 2011 and 2012.

With Sterling Shepard blossoming as one of the league's better slot players, Cruz is left without a position and though it's certainly possible that the Giants offer him a pay cut, it might just be better to let him go and allow him to find another team for his services.

Decision: Cut

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$8,500,000

$4,500,000


DRC is an interesting case study. His snaps have been reduced pretty drastically this past year in favor of Eli Apple. Part of it is fit with what Steve Spagnuolo wants in his scheme and part of it is DRC's injury troubles. Over the years, DRC has had to frustratingly come off the field for gobs of plays at a time due to something tightening up, whether it be calves, hamstrings, or this year, his back.

There's a lot of whispers of the Giants moving on from him this year, especially as he turns 30. I think that's a huge mistake. It's difficult to find a player that has epitomized team more than DRC. He's taken his "demotion" in stride as well as he could. He's played everywhere for the Giants. He's taken snaps at safety, he's taken snaps at outside corner, and he's had to adjust to playing the slot. He's given up the mantle of being their top cover corner to Janoris Jenkins (though it's certainly close). He hasn't made one peep about it. Not only is he still effective, but even though he's banged up, he's a player that chooses the team over his own self-interests. This decision is as easy as the Cruz one.

Decision: Retain

Shane Vereen

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$4,916,668

$3,750,000


At first glance, $3.75 million in savings seems like an easy choice for what looks to be a part time player. However, given some of the other moves that I'll be making (read further), it's a little more complicated than that. Before he got injured, Vereen was the leading rusher for the Giants, not Rashad Jennings. Vereen is a multi-talented back, perhaps the best pass protector from the backfield of any of the RBs and clearly the most talented catching the ball and running routes.

Part of the reason why the Giants offense has failed is perhaps because they miss the added dimension that Vereen has brought more than we think. With Vereen in the game, you can't stack the box like you can with Rashad Jennings. With Vereen in the game, you can't just expect a LB to cover him on a wheel route. The Giants need more talent at the running back position, not less, and while Shane Vereen is making a pretty penny, he's someone that the Giants can ill afford to do without.

Decision: Retain

J.T. Thomas

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$4,000,000

$3,000,000


$3 million in cap savings for an average linebacker that hasn't been able to stay healthy the last two years?

Decision: Cut

Dwayne Harris

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$3,800,000

$1,400,000


Harris has certainly lost a step...or two...or three. I'm keeping him, though. He's got enough dead money on him ($2.4 million) that makes it just not worth getting rid of him. Is he overpaid? Yes. Is he a useful player? Yes. For one, he's sure-handed on punt returns and after the Bobby Rainey experiment, that's more important than you think.

While he may not have the juice you need for KR and PR anymore, he's still an excellent player in punt and kickoff coverage. More than that, he's a good backup option as a wide receiver. Is he a starter? No, but you need quality depth at all areas, and after cutting Victor Cruz, I think Harris has enough use to stick around.

Decision: Retain

Rashad Jennings

Cap Number

Cap Space Created If Cut

$3,062,500

$2,500,000


Rashad Jennings has made an admirable comeback this season. He's a patient runner that fights for yards and won't ever go down on first contact. He is, however, on the wrong side of 30 and he's not really a great fit for this offensive line. The OL dictates that you need to be quick, fast, and have great vision. While Jennings has good vision, he is anything but quick and those holes close up quickly.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Jennings may hurt this team is because he's taking snaps from someone who I think, at this stage of the game, is ultra-talented and needs to be on the field: Paul Perkins. Let him garner experience. Jennings has been a great asset, but I think it's time.

Decision: Cut

In terms of big money players, I think those would be the most controversial decisions. I did my best keeping the players that would provide big roles on the team, while trying to increase the amount of cap space for this team to increase the talent level on both sides of the ball. So without further ado, let's take a look at the final amount of cap space the Giants will have to work with this year:

Final Cap Space

$43,744,686


It's time to go shopping.

Next time: We take a look at the free agents (both our own and from others) to try and upgrade this team and maybe, just maybe make this damn offense work.